“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” “You are my friends” (JN 15).
Perhaps the desire has also come to you, sometimes, to be present together with the apostles, that evening in the upper room, to hear live these words of Jesus so full of affection, of confidence; words that a little later He would have signed with his blood. Certainly you are not one of the Twelve and perhaps you feel like only one of six billion men that live on the face of the earth. It shouldn’t be difficult for you to recognize yourself in the Walter Kostner’s funny cartoon about Gibi and Doppiaw, in which Gibi is designed totally anguished and repeating to himself: “It is tremendous to feel like one-six billionth of humanity!” When, however, Doppiaw calls him by name, he realizes that there are not other Gibi like him and exclaims stupefied: “Only I responded…but then I am…a unique piece!” And jumping satisfied at the discovery, concludes: “We are six billion unique pieces!”
One day you also were called by name by Someone, that has chosen you as His child, from all eternity. Before you were even born and before your parents even desired you, you existed in the Heart of God. “The eyes of Love have seen you as a precious reality, of infinite beauty and eternal value, they are sensitive to a beauty that belongs to you alone” (J.H. Nouwen).
The Love of God has but one characteristic: when it chooses not to exclude anyone, just like the love of a mother for which every child is unique. How many times in your life you would have had the happy experience of being chosen for something: by a boy (or a girl) that showed special interest in you, by a coach that wanted you on his soccer team, by a boss who noticed you for your work effort and your gifts and entrusted you with a special responsibility, by a friend that chose you as his confidante…Just as bitter memories flourish in your mind for the times in which instead you were excluded because others were judged better than you and then perhaps you experienced feelings of jealousy, anger, discouragement. In both cases, there was always someone that cried and someone that smiled. In such a competitive world it almost always happens that the better and more efficient is chosen; at times understandably, but other times unjustly. Many situations close to us push us into the obscurity of doubt, of scorn, of rejection of ourselves and of depression. How many kids hear it said: “You arrived unexpectedly, you weren’t wanted.” And how many people ask themselves if it wouldn’t be better if they had never been born.
In the midst of this painful reality, you must have the courage to believe with strength the truth that you are chosen by God, even when the world doesn’t choose you. As long as you let the others decide if you are chosen or not, you will feel insecure and you will not listen to that voice that tells you: You are my beloved. Your preciousness, uniqueness, and originality, in fact, were not given to you only by those that you meet in the brief span of time of this life, but by a Love that exists from eternity and will last forever. Every time that you feel bumped, offended, or refused, however, you must dare to tell yourself this: “These feelings, as strong as they are, don’t tell me the truth about myself: the truth, even if I cannot grasp it well now, is that I am a chosen child of God, precious to His eyes, called Beloved from all eternity and held secure in an infinite embrace.” And this is not simply an interior truth that emerges from your insides, but it is also the truth that was revealed to you by Jesus and therefore has divine and unchanging strength.
And even when discouragement overtakes you because you don’t feel up to a task or a mission that is entrusted to you (that of mother, of catechist, of doctor, of student…) may you think that God has chosen you yourself to fill that role and persevere with humility and fidelity. But how can you live your “being chosen” in everyday life? First of all by gratitude; it is important that you consider how often you have the possibility to recognize the many little gifts that you receive, an invitation to lunch, a gentle touch, a helping hand. Be grateful with words, with a letter, with a phone call or with a little gesture of affection. At times, the same situation may offer you the occasion to be critical, suspicious, or negative. For example, when someone is gentle with you, you ask yourself if they don’t have another intention, when a situation goes well, it could always have been better, or when a relationship is re-established the question remains “for how long?” You could decide to recognize your being chosen, or you could decide to concentrate on the dark side. Certainly, every time that you decide to be grateful, it will be easier for you to see new things in order to be grateful again.
In other words when you feel chosen, you soon discover within you a profound desire to reveal to others their being chosen. Instead of making them hear that you are better, more valued, more worthy than the others, you become able to recognize their preciousness and their unique place in the Heart of God, and let emerge each of the others’ gifts, giving value to them. Even when you should find yourself before a person of unpleasant appearance, of pessimistic character, of unattractive character, you should repeat to yourself that God has chosen even that person, just as he chose you and for this the other is precious in his eyes.
It is not easy to always live with this awareness of being chosen, especially during moments of crisis. Holding to this truth is in fact a fight that lasts our whole life but is also a joy that lasts our whole life. We now ask Mary, she who was chosen by God in her smallness and humility to be the Mother of His Son, to know how to accept every day the numerous signs that speak God’s love to us, so that we can be grateful and reveal to the others their preciousness.